Members of Congress say they are receiving threatening emails and calls Wednesday following the shooting that occurred during a Republican attended baseball practice. One of the more disturbing threats was leveled at Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) in an e-mail that said, “one down, 216 to go.”
The email Tenney received continues: “Did you NOT expect this? When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and mortality were lost long before.”
Tenney’s spokeswoman, Hannah Andrews, made a statement about the message:
“This morning, our office received a disturbing message referencing the tragic shooting that wounded House Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, U.S. Capitol Police officers and a Congressional staff member. Although our office receives threats like these regularly, today’s message was particularly disheartening following this morning’s tragic events.”
Tenney, who reportedly contacted U.S. Capitol Police to report the message, is a friend of Scalise’s. “Steve Scalise has got to be one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” she told Syracuse.com. Tenney says Scalise is “universally liked by both sides.”
Democrats are also receiving threats, according to Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA). Barragan reportedly said multiple Democratic lawmakers received threats of the “you guys are next” variety. That report was corroborated by Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who said his office received similar calls.
Following Wednesday’s shooting, and reportedly due to a recent escalation in death threats leveled at members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican members are asking for changes to political rhetoric.
During an interview on MSNBC, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, “I could certainly get the sense that many members are seeing a real escalation in the number of death threats. I think all of us have gotten those kind of threats from time to time, but they do seem to have escalated given the deterioration in the political climate over the last couple years.”
Schiff says there’s “a real concern” over member safety, and that “politics has become so debased,” leaving room for increased threats of violence.
Before the House session, Congressional members had a short meeting to discuss how to best protect themselves at public events.
Then, during a moment of solidarity in the House chamber, Democrats and Republicans seemed united. Speaker Paul Ryan said that “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
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